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The Bone & Joint Journal
Vol. 97-B, Issue 3 | Pages 366 - 371
1 Mar 2015
Patel MS Newey M Sell P

Minimal clinically important differences (MCID) in the scores of patient-reported outcome measures allow clinicians to assess the outcome of intervention from the perspective of the patient. There has been significant variation in their absolute values in previous publications and a lack of consistency in their calculation.

The purpose of this study was first, to establish whether these values, following spinal surgery, vary depending on the surgical intervention and their method of calculation and secondly, to assess whether there is any correlation between the two external anchors most frequently used to calculate the MCID.

We carried out a retrospective analysis of prospectively gathered data of adult patients who underwent elective spinal surgery between 1994 and 2009. A total of 244 patients were included. There were 125 men and 119 women with a mean age of 54 years (16 to 84); the mean follow-up was 62 months (6 to 199) The MCID was calculated using three previously published methods.

Our results show that the value of the MCID varies considerably with the operation and its method of calculation. There was good correlation between the two external anchors. The global outcome tool correlated significantly better.

We conclude that consensus needs to be reached on the best method of calculating the MCID. This then needs to be defined for each spinal procedure. Using a blanket value for the MCID for all spinal procedures should be avoided.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2015;97-B:366–71.

The Bone & Joint Journal
Vol. 95-B, Issue 1 | Pages 90 - 94
1 Jan 2013
Patel MS Braybrooke J Newey M Sell P

The outcome of surgery for recurrent lumbar disc herniation is debatable. Some studies show results that are comparable with those of primary discectomy, whereas others report worse outcomes. The purpose of this study was to compare the outcome of revision lumbar discectomy with that of primary discectomy in the same cohort of patients who had both the primary and the recurrent herniation at the same level and side.

A retrospective analysis of prospectively gathered data was undertaken in 30 patients who had undergone both primary and revision surgery for late recurrent lumbar disc herniation. The outcome measures used were visual analogue scales for lower limb (VAL) and back (VAB) pain and the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI).

There was a significant improvement in the mean VAL and ODI scores (both p < 0.001) after primary discectomy. Revision surgery also resulted in improvements in the mean VAL (p < 0.001), VAB (p = 0.030) and ODI scores (p < 0.001). The changes were similar in the two groups (all p > 0.05).

Revision discectomy can give results that are as good as those seen after primary surgery.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2013;95-B:90–4.